A tale of two countries…writes Michael Kuttner

May 7, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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There are two countries both starting with the letter “I” which gained their independence from the British more or less at the same time, whose creation caused refugees to be created, resulted in military conflict with Moslem neighbours and today still face unresolved border disputes.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

Both these countries are democracies where in contrast to the situations prevailing in countries around them, they strive to uphold the rule of law, civil rights and independent courts and where Governments are changed at the ballot box rather than by military coups. Elections are held at the appointed time and neither Prime Minister nor President remains in power beyond their use by date. Another similarity is the fact that both countries must invest heavily in defense because of threats to their citizens by those who wish to harm them. Despite this heavy burden, both countries have become leaders in hi-tech and similar fields. Both countries have sent satellites into space and developed technology associated with delivering these.

These two countries are of course India and Israel.

It is useful to look how these two countries, similar in so many ways despite the disparity between their populations, are treated by the international community. The contrasts are startling but for those of us alive to the hypocritical double standards prevailing these days, not surprising.

Take for example the question of refugees. When India and Pakistan were established, millions of refugees were created. In fact there was a massive transfer of population between both countries. Nevertheless there is still a substantial Moslem minority in India today who are loyal citizens of the country. There are no refugee camps in either country and no demand for a right of return to villages and towns. No refugee agency of the UN was created and they were integrated into the host countries and became productive citizens. Contrast all this with the scandal of the Arab refugees. They are still kept in camps, denied rights in the host countries and fed a steady stream of lies about returning to Israel. Unlike the Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were absorbed, the unfortunate Arabs are used as a weapon of hate against the Jewish State. Not only that. The agency especially created to perpetuate the problem (UNRWA) receives massive donor aid from western countries (including Australia & New Zealand) which in turn pours into the coffers of groups fostering hate and delegitimisation against Israel.

In India, all religions have freedom of worship and the right for their followers to make pilgrimages to holy places. Contrast this with the situation Jews face in their own country where Islamic mobs attack Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount, Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, amongst other places. In Israel, like India, there is freedom for all religions yet whenever Moslem mobs riot and deny Jews this basic freedom and Israel takes steps to ensure security, it is accused and blamed in world forums.

India has been and continues to be a target for terrorists and follows an uncompromising attitude towards any such threat. Israel is also a prime target for terrorism. The international community’s reactions are however completely different. India attracts no condemnations or sanctimonious resolutions while Israel is vilified, condemned, censured and continually accused of human rights violations when it tackles manifestations of Jihadist terror targeting innocent civilians.

India has an ongoing border dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. This has resulted in conflict and tension. Despite this, Pakistan recognises India as a legitimate State and there is no country in the world which refuses its right to exist. In direct contrast, Israel is delegitimised on a daily basis, is not recognised by most of its neighbours and is subject to a constant stream of hate. It is the only country in the world which despite having been validated by the UN still has its legitimacy called into question. It is the only country over which debates are held and its right to be challenged in world forums, the media and by so called experts of all types. Israel is unique because the intense hatred directed towards it by those especially who plot its demise results in more resolutions at the United Nations and associated bodies than any other country on this planet.

Moreover it is the only country which is portrayed as a threat to world peace. No other border dispute in the world can claim this dubious distinction and therefore it follows that the absence of peace today is Israel’s fault rather than the noxious desire of those who refuse to accept it amongst the family of nations. All those naïve fools who constantly know what is best for us and are so eager to reward those who have been trying to eliminate us for the last 66 years ignore the obvious and continue to obsess about us whilst ignoring disasters in every other part of the globe.

What accounts for this seemingly mysterious dichotomy? What is it that makes India and other countries different from Israel? Well, the most obvious is the fact that despite differences and disputes, only Israel’s legitimacy is challenged and only Israel faces others who plot its annihilation.

The only logical conclusion one can reach is that India and other countries are not Jewish. At the end of the day the common denominator in all this is the fact that the Jewish State has become the international punching bag for those who hate Jews. I am not talking about disagreeing with this or that policy of Governments. It is plain hostility to the presence of a secure and strong Jewish State on the part of those whose visceral hatred is so publicly on display. The double standards are so obvious that they cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet and we who are involved should not do so. The examples of international hypocrisy are too numerous to be excused as paranoia or persecution complex. They are glaringly obvious for anyone who has the desire to acknowledge the truth.

As I write these lines, we here in Israel are celebrating Independence Day. After 24 hours of grief and tribute to the thousands of men & women who have given their lives to ensure our safety as a nation and also in remembrance of thousands of men, women and children, murdered by those for whom killing Jews is merely an extension of what has been happening for the last two thousand years, we celebrate the rebirth of Jewish independence in the land which has been the cradle of Jewish life and faith since the time of Abraham and Sarah.

We, their descendants have come back home and make no mistake, neither hostility, indifference nor double standards, will deter us from making Israel a light unto the nations and a country in which all, regardless of creed or ethnic origin can contribute to the betterment of humanity.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

Comments

5 Responses to “A tale of two countries…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Hear Hear Mr. Kuttner.

  2. Jeremy Kuttner says:

    Mr. Kuttner has raied an interesting comparison between 2 countries that “gained their independence from the British”
    with an implicit call for Israel to be treated like India. In Israel’s case, this independence was of course awarded together with that of an independent Arab state by the famous U.N resolution of November 29, 1947. Is Mr. Kuttner in favour then of a return to the borders of the Jewish State as recognised by the U.N?

    One obvious difference between the two countries is that all residents of India enjoy full civil and democratic rights, including being entitled to exercise the basic democratic right of voting, whereas in excess of 1 million (!) people living in areas under Israeli control do not have this basic democratic privilege.

    A claim for the eradication of double standards vis-a-vis Israel must surely be accompanied by an examination of those excercised by the author of this column.

    • Interesting sleight of phrase you utilise, Mr Jeremy…’the basic democratic right of voting, whereas in excess of 1 million (!) people living in areas under Israeli control do not have this basic democratic privilege.’ What you are NOT saying is that these ‘in excess of 1 million’ (never mind the factual number) are presumably the non-Israeli Arabs in the administered territories. Of course they do have the right to vote, for their own government, the PLO. And of course they do not have voting rights in Israel, as they aren’t Israeli citizens. Unquestionably a few of them voted for Abbas for president, the post in which he now holds power in the NINTH year of his four year term. Is this a democracy you would like to live in? be my guest.

      • Jeremy Kuttner says:

        David Scholem,

        Of course I am referring to the “non-Israeli Arabs in the administered territories”. While I am very happy that they have the autonomous democratic right to determine local government and related aspects of their lives, they do not possess other basic civil rights because, as you rightly point out, they are not Israeli citizens. For me, as a (religious) Jew who believes that our mission during the brief time we have here is to make the world a better place, it is morally repellent to ‘administer’ a large population of people, created in God’s image, while restricting their movement, expropriating and building on their land and denying them citizenship and the rights that come along with it.

        Israel MUST decide whether to maintain the current situation and risk moral and univerally international condemnation, decide to annex the remaining territories conquered in 1967 (as they did to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights), or alternatively withdraw from those territories and concentrate on building Israel as a State with a viable and long-term Jewish majority.

        The current situation in which our 18 and 19 year old children are obligated to stand at check points and deny freedom of movement to innocent men women, children is slowly but surely eroding the moral fibre of the Jewish People in Israel. No claim or excuse of so called self-defense will change this.

  3. Agree with this article 100%! Excellent writing!

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